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Maybe now I can sleep? - Melodramatic, corsetted mistress of the obscure
April 12th, 2011
10:55 pm


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Maybe now I can sleep?
Proof the internet has EVERYTHING.

There's a nursery rhyme that's kind of haunted me for as long as I can remember. I suspect I heard it last in kindergarten, if not even earlier, but I just never remembered more than 'calico cat and gingham dog' and 'they scratched and they spit, they clawed and they bit'.

But the internet comes through! 'Calico cat gingham dog' were enough to get me several hits, the first of which was http://www.xmission.com/~emailbox/gingham.htm

The Duel
by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
T'was half past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!

(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfulest way you ever saw--
And oh! How the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate--I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about that cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

I am, however, a little curious which poem that second remembered line is actually from....

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 04:06 am (UTC)
I remember that poem! I used to perform it for speech and drama tournaments.

[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
Hehh I coulda told you about this poem if you had asked!

The second line baffles me though. Googling "they scratched and they spit, they clawed and they bit" with the quote shows two entries. Both going to your lj!
[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:34 am (UTC)
Two? O.o

Maybe I made it up, while trying to reconstruct the poem over the years.
[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, two, at your main LJ address and then the address for this specific entry.
[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
There once were two cats from Kilkenny,
Who each thought they'd one cat too many.
So they scratched and they spit,
They clawed and they bit,
Til where there'd been two cats, there weren't any.

(I've heard the middle both this way and as "So they fought and they fit, they clawed and they bit...)

That's the only use of those lines I know.

Much love,
[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, YES! THANK YOU!
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